Canada 150, Charles Street Mural call for expressions of interest

Canada 150, Charles Street Mural call for expressions of interest

Share your artistic talents
Mar 10 2017 - 6:00pm
Mural Charles st
245 Charles St W, Kitchener

Canada 150 Charles Street Mural

Call for Expressions of Interest


Artists/artist teams are invited to participate in a two-stage competition to provide site-specific, outdoor, public art for the retaining wall on Charles Street across from Madison in Kitchener. Each artist/team is limited to one entry.




To commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary Neruda Arts will bring together a diverse group of 150 residents from various linguistic, ethno-cultural and Indigenous communities to conceptualize and create a large-scale mural on the theme of immigration, Indigeneity and Canadian identity. This project will be led by a high profile muralist of international standing plus a core group of four to six accomplished artists from the Waterloo Region and other parts of Canada. While the overarching concept will be Canadian multiculturalism, participants will work with core artists to develop themes, images and motifs representing Canada’s cultural mosaic and First Nations’ traditions. 


The Region of Waterloo has offered Neruda Arts a 150 metre-long retaining wall on Charles Street adjacent to Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute and in the Mill-Courtland neighbourhood of Downtown Kitchener. This location is also significant because it will be home to the Kitchener Market stop of Waterloo Region’s new light rail transit system. Neruda Arts’ Canada 150 commemorative mural will revitalize Charles Street, where the LRT runs parallel to this heavy concrete retaining wall, and reflect the history, culture and positive values of diversity that this community shares with the rest of Canada.


The initial call for expressions of interest is the first stage in the selection process, the evaluation of which will be made by staff and board members with Neruda Arts. From these submissions, successful artists will be contacted for follow up information and direct discussion of the mural and it’s process involving the community. Four to six artists shall be chosen for the project to work both independently and collaboratively on the design and execution of the art (Note, Neruda Arts reserves the right to select additional artists outside of this competition.


Mural Project Details


Design and Artist Collaboration – Artists may develop design concepts in advance of the formal process, however, designs will not be finalized prior to a collaboration and engagement process (see draft time table below.)


Artists are expected to design and oversee segments of the total mural independently, however collaboration between artists shall be required for continuity, transitions, and complete representation of the message.


Materials and Equipment – Materials and equipment shall be provided by Neruda Arts and our partners.  The goal is to paint the mural on site. The mural may be painted upon removable panels (already attached to the surface) or directly onto the wall pending the approval of Region staff.   Specific materials will be sourced based on the needs of each artist. Both spray and traditional paint are expected to be part of the design; other medium may be used based on artist requests as agreed by Neruda Arts. 


Note: all materials used must be suitable for outdoor application in Canadian climate and any maintenance or sealing needs should be determined in advance of application and coordinated with Neruda Arts.


Public Engagement – Artists shall participate in several community engagement opportunities to gain support and ideas from our neighbours and stakeholders prior to finalizing the design. These sessions will be booked based upon the availability of artists for maximum involvement from the team where ever possible. Artists unable to participate with community in advance of the painting period may be required to submit sketches, ideas, and details for the team to use in the engagement process.


All artists will be required to participate in a professional development and training session provided to local artists in order to advance the muralist skills in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Date and location TBA based on availability.


Many volunteers from the community will assist on actual painting dates. Artists are required to lead volunteers through the painting process for at least part of their piece.


Funding – Grants have been secured from the Canada 150 Fund and the Waterloo Region Arts Fund 15/150 grant, and the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Further funding is yet to be announced. The total budget for the project (including materials, installation, public events and other expenses) is expected to be at or around $70,000.


Artists fees shall be negotiated upon offer based on experience and budgetary limitations, fees are expected to range from $1000 to $4000.


Any travel, housing, and hospitality needs required by the artist may be negotiated in addition to artist fees.


Artist fees do not include any materials or equipment required.  These are covered in the overall budget and to be provided by Neruda Arts and its partner organizations.



Advertise call for expressions of Interest

February 20, 2017

Deadline for Expressions of Interest

March 10, 2017

Selection of artists to proceed to interviews

March 17, 2017

Artists selected and contracts signed

April 3, 2017

Public engagement process

May, 2017, Dates TBA

On site painting

Mid June, 2017, Dates TBA (2 weeks)

Public unveiling/celebration

July 1, 2017

Professional Development session

TBA Spring/summer 2017



Note: All dates are approximate except the Deadline for Expressions of Interest.


Selection Process


Expression of Interest submissions will be assessed for:


  • Conceptual Innovation
  • Diversity of work
  • Size and scope of past works
  • Experience / Track Record of the Artist/Art Team
  • Interest in this project
  • Special consideration will be given to artists with a link to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, Indigenous groups, or unique views of Canadian identitiy (including but not limited to ethnicity and multiculturalism)


Submission Requirements


  • Cover letter outlining artistic background and reason for interest in the project (1 page maximum)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • High-resolution image files (jpg or print) of completed public art projects that demonstrate the quality and style of previous work (link to web gallery accepted). Image files should be accompanied by:  a title for each work, year completed, medium, and commission value
  • 3 professional references


Submission Deadline


All submissions must be received electronically, in person, or by mail

by March 10th 2017 at 5:00 p.m.    


All submissions, including support materials, must be submitted to:

Tracy Suerich – Mural Project Manager

Neruda Arts

8 Regina Street North, Unit 5

Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 2Z8


Please note: The Neruda Arts reserves the right to terminate the competition at any stage. In such a case, appropriate notifications would be made as necessary. Incomplete and/or late submissions will not be considered. Neruda Arts is not responsible for damage to, or loss of, applicants’ support materials. If you would like us to return your submission materials, please let us know. Direct any inquiries to Tracy Suerich.